Things Have Gotten So Bad That A Million New Claims For Unemployment Benefits In One Week Is Considered “Good News”

The Labor Department announced on Thursday that another 1.006 million Americans filed new claims for unemployment benefits last week.  Prior to this year, the all-time record for a single week was just 695,000, and so the number of Americans that are losing their jobs each week continues to remain at a catastrophic level.  But this latest figure is actually being spun as “good news” because at least it was lower than the week before.  And I am willing to concede that point, because we should definitely welcome any sign that the numbers are starting to move in the right direction.  However, there is no doubt that what we have experienced up to this point in 2020 is nothing short of an economic cataclysm.  Over the last 23 weeks, more than 58 million Americans have filed new claims for unemployment benefits.  Even if zero workers filed for unemployment for the rest of 2020, this would still be the worst year for unemployment claims in all of U.S. history by a gigantic margin.  Vast hordes of workers have been losing their jobs week after week as the U.S. economy melts down right in front of our eyes.  This has truly been an economic horror show, and the most nightmarish chapters are still ahead of us.

When economic numbers start getting really bad, the government often decides to “modify” how they are calculated, and on Thursday the Labor Department announced that it will be “changing how it adjusts weekly jobless-claims figures for seasonal swings”.

Presumably, that should help the numbers look a bit better starting next week.

But no matter how much they massage the numbers, they can’t erase the fact that tens of millions of people are deeply hurting right now.  According to one new survey, 61 percent of Americans need “another relief bill”, and about two-thirds of Americans from the age of 24 to the age of 54 say that they are currently in financial distress

The latest survey by MagnifyMoney reveals 61 percent of the country needs another relief bill to pay for expenses. Over 80 percent of workers who have been laid off or furloughed due to COVID-19 are counting on more assistance. The poll of 1,010 Americans adds 71 percent of Generation X (ages 40 to 54) and 65 percent of millennials (ages 24 to 39) say they are currently in financial distress.

If you are not in financial distress at this moment, you should be very thankful for your blessings, because you are definitely in the minority.

And more layoff announcements just keep on coming with each passing day.  On Thursday, we learned that Lord & Taylor will be laying off all their workers and closing every single store

Lord & Taylor, the first department store established in the United States, is officially going out of business, ending a nearly 200-year run.

The bankrupt company announced Thursday that all of its 38 remaining stores and website have begun liquidation sales — a reversal from last week’s decision to keep 14 locations open.

When I was a kid, I was always so intimidated by Lord & Taylor when my mother would take me to the mall.

I always thought that was where the rich people shopped.

I never imagined that someday I would see it go out of business forever.

Of course countless other retailers are going belly up as the worst “retail apocalypse” in U.S. history rolls on.  According to Coresight Research, approximately 25 percent of all malls in the United States “will close over the next three to five years”

Another new report out this week from Coresight Research estimates 25% of America’s roughly 1,000 malls will close over the next three to five years, with the pandemic accelerating a demise that was already underway before the new virus emerged.

Can you imagine what our country is going to look like if that actually happens?

Already, communities all over America are being blighted by one boarded up property after another, and this is especially true in many impoverished areas.

Of course our economic problems have been accelerated by a series of very unusual events that have been beyond our control.  It has been one thing after another here in 2020, and the latest major disaster to hit us was Hurricane Laura.  We were extremely fortunate that neither New Orleans or Houston took a direct hit from this storm, because it was enormously destructive.  Just consider what one survivor told the press about the devastation in his community…

“It looks like 1,000 tornadoes went through here. It’s just destruction everywhere,” said Brett Geymann, who rode out the storm with three family members in Moss Bluff, near Lake Charles, Louisiana. He described Laura passing over his house with the roar of a jet engine around 2 a.m.

Let us hope that we will have at least a little bit of time before the next major crisis comes along.  Many had been hoping that August would be a quiet month, but that didn’t turn out to be the case, and now September is just a few days away.

And as we approach the fall season, it is being reported that wealthy investors have been “hoarding cash”

A group of multimillionaire investors in the U.S. are hoarding cash at unprecedented levels.

Tiger 21, a club of more than 800 investors, reported Thursday that its members have raised their cash holdings to 19% of their total assets on concerns over the economic consequences of the covid pandemic in the U.S. That’s up from about 12% since the start of the outbreak. About a quarter now expect the crisis to continue until the end of next June, the group said.

Is this a sign that many of them believe that trouble is ahead for the financial markets?

Of course it isn’t just the wealthy that are deeply concerned about the months ahead.  Our nation has been gripped by endless turmoil for most of this year, and now a very hotly contested presidential election is just over two months away.  Meanwhile, economic conditions will continue to deteriorate, and that means that tens of millions of Americans will become even more angry and even more frustrated.  If you believe that the U.S. is just going to snap out of all of this somehow and everything will turn out just fine in the end, then you simply do not understand the times in which we are living.

For so long we were warned that a “perfect storm” was coming, and now it is here.

And if you think that 2020 has been bad, just wait until you see what else is ahead.

***Michael’s new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on***

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